December 2004/January 2005 
Volume 03, Issue 8 
Special Features

The age of experience

Boeing is curbing brain drain in a new experiment, recruiting retired engineers for urgent and complex technical projects


Bill Bozich and Jeff EricksonWhen the clock strikes "retirement," it may be a joyous time for the retiree.

But for Boeing, which relies on the technical skills of its scientists and engineers, it can mean a serious loss to the business. The retirement of valued experts represents a drain of brain power, experience and knowledge that is sometimes hard to replace. Moreover, the loss of an experienced employee often means the loss of a mentor to guide less seasoned workers. In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Science Foundation warn of a critical labor shortage in the next decade in the science and engineering fields as Baby Boomers near retirement age and a smaller number of students choose those careers.

To help curb brain drain and drive innovation, Boeing recently partnered with YourEncore Inc., an Indianapolis-based firm that provides member companies with a seasoned network of retired scientists, engineers and product developers to hire on a part-time, consulting basis for complex, urgent projects without having to go through an exhaustive and costly search to find them.

"People with critical, specific skills are difficult to find. They may already be employed or aren't available for short-term projects, like a retiree might," said Brad Lawson, YourEncore president and chief executive officer.

For Boeing, YourEncore will provide a new source for program managers, engineers and technologists when faced with highly technical or other challenging projects.


WANTED: Retired Boeing scientists and engineers who want to enjoy retirement to its fullest, while having a flexible, paid part-time career in their disciplines.

Boeing partnered in August 2003 with YourEncore Inc. to provide Boeing retirees with scientific and engineering skills challenging and rewarding project opportunities in various industries, including aerospace, chemical, communications, pharmaceutical and consumer products. Retirees can contribute their expertise to major companies on high-level projects while networking among peers and gaining experience in new industries. Retirees who join YourEncore have the freedom to enjoy retirement while staying actively involved in their discipline on a part-time basis with attractive compensation.

"YourEncore is an ideal opportunity for Boeing retirees to stay intellectually engaged on a part-time basis to the degree the retiree wishes and get fairly compensated," said Dick Paul, Boeing Phantom Works vice president, strategic development and analysis. "Boeing retirees can join YourEncore and consult either back at Boeing or with other member companies in varied industries."

Retirees in the YourEncore network may be called to work on a short-term project and have the luxury of selecting projects based on interest and schedule flexibility. Retirees can work where they want to work, live where they want to live and contribute according to their schedules. Projects may be done from a "virtual" home office or on-site, depending on the nature of the accepted project.

YourEncore employees are not independent contractors. They join its talent network as part-time employees. A retiree's pay rate is based on his or her salary when retired, adjusted for inflation plus a 20 percent premium to cover bonuses and related earnings. YourEncore pays and manages all employment- related taxes and withholdings. It guarantees confidentiality for both retirees and member companies to protect intellectual property and ownership.






"This is another innovation experiment by Boeing Phantom Works to ensure that Boeing can tap into a diversity of technical talent that will bring fresh, imaginative ideas into the Boeing enterprise and complement our internal expertise," said Dick Paul, Phantom Works vice president of Strategic Development and Analysis. "Having these experts aboard can help provide a new approach or a solution to an old problem."

Created by Procter and Gamble and Eli Lilly, YourEncore was launched in October 2003 to fill this niche. YourEncore's part-time retiree workforce has experience gained at major corporations such as Abbott Laboratories, AT&T, DuPont, Goodyear and Pfizer.

Boeing's pilot YourEncore project is Phantom Works' Technical Fellowship Advisory Board Study on High-risk Research and Development Programs. Its aim is to strengthen the capability of Phantom Works teams to plan and execute programs involving high levels of technical risk.

"Since the nature of the study required noncompany viewpoints to create change, YourEncore was a good fit for this study," said Jeff Erickson, Boeing Phantom Works senior technical fellow. He leads the TFAB team, which includes Boeing fellowship members and senior engineering staff, as well as four YourEncore employees who previously worked for Dow Chemical and Procter and Gamble.


Jerry ToomerJerry Toomer, a Dow Chemical retiree, joined the YourEncore network in March 2004 and currently is working at Boeing on Phantom Works' Technical Fellowship Advisory Board Study on High-risk Research and Development Programs with three other YourEncore expert advisors, as well as Boeing employees. Toomer, who lives in Indianapolis, shared with Challenge magazine his perspective of YourEncore and how it helps him keep active in his discipline.

Why did you join YourEncore?
It was a highly effective way to connect with individuals who retired from roles in business and are now engaged in YourEncore member company projects.

Is the work through YourEncore personally rewarding?
It has been a terrific opportunity to continue to apply the skills and experience that I gained in more than 25 years spent in various roles with The Dow Chemical Company. Taking a fresh look at projects and challenges in other companies is intellectually stimulating and extremely rewarding.

What role do you play on the Boeing TFAB study? Is it a good challenge?
I'm responsible for developing and implementing an approach to benchmarking innovation and risk-taking in the research and development environment. I also assess Phantom Works' environment via a work culture and a survey approach. Yes, it definitely is a great challenge, and it's very interesting. I would participate again in a heartbeat.

What are some benefits of working as a YourEncore employee?
I have the opportunity to say "yes" or "no" to a project based on my schedule and based on the nature of the project. While working on projects, I continue to learn from others and contribute to their learning as well, which replaces, in part, the collegiality that I enjoyed at Dow.

Would you recommend YourEncore to Boeing retirees?
Absolutely. It's a very effective and rewarding way to stay engaged. It's also a good way to stay connected with others and to network with like-minded people who have entered the next phase of their working and personal lives.






Why would Boeing look externally for retired talent instead of tapping into in-house expertise?

"It's not a question of Boeing not having the requisite experience; it's a question of getting outside perspectives from highly competent experts with the necessary skills to match our needs on extremely short notice," said Paul. "Most of us have had the experience where a fresh set of eyes can result in an 'Aha!' moment. That's the essence of YourEncore for Boeing."

Paul added that Boeing envisions using YourEncore across all sites and business units so everyone can take advantage of a unique resource for important projects, such as solving time-sensitive technical problems in research, design or manufacturing, or participating in "red teams" and non-advocate reviews where outside perspectives are critical.

After 34 years with Boeing, Bill Bozich retired in March 2004 as a Phantom Works senior technical fellow based in Huntington Beach, Calif. Now, he's found a new career on the business side of YourEncore, serving as a scientific advisor and liaison to match retirees to Boeing's projects.

"YourEncore is a one-stop shop for Boeing, where we can quickly match appropriate retirees with projects to immediately meet proposal specifics," said Bozich. "Boeing may have peaks and valleys in project work loads, so YourEncore is a cost-effective way to fill needs when warranted. It's a win for Boeing and a win for the retiree who wants to stay active in the field."

Since his expertise was a perfect match, Bozich, whose technical passion hasn't waned since retirement, also pitches in to help on the TFAB study. Having the brain trust return home to Boeing also is a winning situation.


Boeing technical managers:
. For more information on YourEncore and possible Boeing projects, contact Lynne Wenberg, Boeing program manager for YourEncore, via e-mail at or (206) 655-4687.
. For more information on YourEncore, visit or contact Bill Bozich at or (714) 345-9933.

Boeing retirees:
. For more information on YourEncore, visit or call (317) 226-9301.
. To enroll in YourEncore online, visit


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